Wednesday, June 17, 2020
The recent months of the COVID-19 pandemic and weeks of social unrest have amplified inequities in our state and across the country. Right now, we need places for comfort, we need healing, and we need hope. Most importantly, we need to be present for those who need us most.
I am proud to share some details about a significant new effort to confront these inequities head on. A $32.5 million dollar commitment from IDHS is part of Governor Pritzker's $900 million equity-driven community and business grant program that addresses the damage resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and property damage related to the recent civil unrest. These grants will focus on communities most impacted by these recent events and will support small businesses, working families and many urgent needs in Illinois' Black and Brown communities.
The $32.5 million IDHS commitment is an effort to immediately mitigate poverty and respond to the needs of hard-hit communities in Illinois. The program will support more than 73,000 people across the state by building upon contracts and services to target communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The actions will begin in June and extend through the summer.
Specifically, the IDHS strategies will provide:
- Unemployed Adults - Stipends of up to $4 million to help rebuild businesses
- Summer Youth Providers - More than $6 million to empower and engage youth and help rebuild communities
- Foods Banks - $2 million to expand the capacity to feed hungry families in the hardest hit areas
- Illinois Black and Brown Farmers - $1 million to increase the availability of fresh food and produce
- Mental Health Services - $2 million to help meet the increased demand for crisis services and better serve diverse communities
- Community-Based Organizations - $5 million to provide small grants for healing circles, restorative justice circles, and other healing activities
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) - One-time $500 payment to help ensure food security, totaling $11.5 million
IDHS providers who work in these areas can expect further, detailed information from our divisions, and we thank our hard-working provider network for their flexibility in these times of increased need.
I am proud to work for a Governor who takes action quickly and is focused on equity-driven answers, and I hope that this grant program will help restore our communities that need us most during these difficult times.
You can find the full announcement on the Governor's Website. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to making our state a healthier, stronger and more equitable place to live.
Grace B. Hou